Google is selling off Zagat

Brian Heater
Google is selling off Zagat

Seven years after picking up Zagat for $151 million, Google is selling off the perennial restaurant recommendation service. The New York Times is reporting this morning that the technology giant is selling off the company to The Infatuation, a review site founded nine years back by former music execs.

The company had been rumored to be courting a buyer since early this year. As Reuters noted at the time, Zagat has increasingly become less of a focus for Google, as the company began growing its database of restaurant recommendations organically. Zagat, meanwhile, has lost much of the shine it had when Google purchased it nearly a decade ago.

Services like Yelp and the like have found more efficient methods for crowdsourcing customer opinions. That manner of content has become increasingly important for driving services like Google Maps, which incorporates it directly into its location services. Zagat was initially used to help overhaul the restaurant offerings in Google+, as the company was hoping to build a legitimate Facebook competitor.

Over the years, Google’s involvement in the company’s public facing offerings were pretty minimal. Though it did make a big push in 2016, revamping the Zagat app with individually tailored review results.

The Infatuation, which uses an in-house team of reviewers to write up restaurants in major cities like New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles and London, is picking up the service for an undisclosed amount. The site clearly believes there’s value left in the Zagat brand, even as the business of online reviews has changed significantly in the seven years sinceGoogle picked it up.

“How often does an iconic brand like Zagat become available?” Infatuation co-founder Chris Stang rhetorically asked The Times in a phone interview. At the very least, the deal will certainly go a ways toward getting the review site more notice among casual observers. Zagat also offers a depth of reviews and knowledge from its nearly 40 years of existence.

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